Okay I realise I've forgotten to keep this updated, but that's mainly because I keep going away at the weekends and I'm generally just busy. I think it's now week 34 although it doesn't particularly matter. Weeks and days are now just blending into one another, and the fact that it's a sunday makes no difference at all to my daily routine. For the past week solid I've spent most of my time in the Learning Grid churning out problem sheet questions and memorising derivations. Luckily I managed to rope a fellow student, Kevin, into doing much the same, and we've secured the same exact seating in the Grid for 4 days running. It's definately been helpful, but somehow I still feel underprepared.
My exam timetable is actually pretty much the best you can hope being a third year. The exams are inevitably early on in this third term (starting tomorrow!), but for me at least, they're relatively well spread. Most of my friends are unlucky enough to have chosen all the modules which are examined in the same week. I know at least two people who have 7 or 8 exams over the next 5 days, which is downright horrific. Anyway, my breakdown looks something like this:
Monday 18th: Cosmology in the afternoon. It's an hour and a half paper (standard length for the 7.5 CAT modules) and it's one of the nicest. The format of the exam means you're practically guaranteed one question per section of the course, and so you can focus revision on the two sections you find easiest to understand. The last question is also a rarity in physics papers; a written essay about three topics. If you've read most of these possible topic areas, you can rack up the marks at an alarmingly fast rate.
Tuesday 19th: Magnetic Resonance in the morning. I was at first glance quite worried by this, because there are a lot of odd concepts to get your head around, but a good revision lecture and plenty of revision so far means I'm no that worried. The questions are similar most years and I'm only struggling with a couple of problems at the moment.
Saturday 23rd: Non-linearity, chaos and complexity. Okay, so it's on a saturday and that sucks. I guess so, but as I wrote earlier, who cares about days during exam periods. This is probably my least prepared for exam. I missed a lot of the lectures, and I'm finding it difficult to comprehend a lot of the lecturers solutions. Plus the revision class was cancelled. I really need to spend some solid time on this after the mag res exam and find some others to talk me through it.
Tuesday 26th: Astrophysics. The BIG ONE. Double module (15 CATS), and 3 hours to do 4 questions. Most of the questions are fairly straightforward, and you don't have to think all that much, but there is SO MUCH material to memorise and become familiar with. As soon as non-linearity is over, I'm heading straight to the Grid and cramming everything into my head for this.
Saturday 30th: Condensed Matter. Another big one I suppose, being a double, but I'm not that worried about this. One half of it is a re-run of one of the spring exams, and the other half was summarised in half an hour perfectly by the lecturer. One type of question is guaranteed to come up, with only a few possibilities for the others. Plus the fact that I have nothing else to focus on after astrophysics except this.
Right, so it doesn't sound too bad, but we'll see how things go. As for my spring exams, they were a mixed bag to say the least. The first quantum paper (atoms) was fine. It didn't go as well as expected because some annoying little questions came up that stumped me, and I fudged the first answer, but it was okay. The medicine exam was pretty fantastic. Others said they found it hard, but only because two questions came up on the topics most people had avoided revising. Having to do 2 out of the 3 questions offered, they did well in one but had no clue in the other forced choice. Whereas my last minute revision for that exam on the areas I hated, turned out to be critical, and I had a nice choice of questions available. Then there was the second quantum paper (solids) and it was terrible from the offset. I know I didn't revise enough for that one, so a poor start was guaranteed, but all three questions were from the last 1/4 of the course syllabus, and two of them were just briefly mentioned in the notes almost as an aside (such as go and read this bit of a book). Oh well, everyone found that moderatly bad to impossible, so the average mark is low, and it shoud get normalised up considerably. At least I hope!
Time to go put in another 8 hours or so of revision for tomorrow and tuesday.